Aaron Judge has been out since April 20 with a left oblique strain, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been making an impact for the Yankees.
Sometimes, players decide to stay in their home city to focus solely on their rehab process. But the Yankees gave Judge the option of that, or joining the team wherever they went.
Being the team player that he is, Judge chose the latter.
"They brought it up and some people suggested it," Judge told The Post's Dan Martin about staying in NYC for his rehab. "I knew I had to be on the road. I knew how well we'd play, but I had to be there. It was my decision. Guys should travel, if they can. They're part of the team.''
With players like Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Didi Gregorius still on the injured list, the Yankees have managed to get the job done without them in the lineup. And Judge has been there along the way cheering his team on, and giving pointers whenever he sees fit.
It's something manager Aaron Boone knew his team could use.
"First and foremost, we wanted to do what was best for him, but I wanted him to very much be a part of this,'' Boone said. "We wanted him to do what he felt he wanted to do, but I always want him around as much as possible.''
Boone added that some players don't get the option to travel with the team, but given Judge's leader status in the clubhouse, that option was presented. And while the Yankees gear up with batting practice and their daily routines for games, Judge is right there doing his own individual drills like the ones Friday at Yankee Stadium before the series opener against the Red Sox.
He was seen doing outfield and hitting drills tonight, with getting his swing back down being among the top priorities. The oblique strain happened on a swing, so that will be the main test when knowing if he can return to the roster or not.
"He's letting it go a little bit," Boone said about Judge's swings. "Swinging is obviously going to be the biggest test and he's getting there."
And as he works his way back, Judge's teammates have loved him being around.
"It's great to have him in the clubhouse,'' Brett Gardner said. "I think the first couple of days [after the injury], it took him a while to come to grips with the situation. But since then, he's been the same guy he always is.''
Cameron Maybin, who joined in the team because of the Yankees' outfield deficiency, added: "He's a huge part of what's going on, even if he's not doing the things he normally does out there. His leadership abilities are really impressive. He's still very vocal and instrumental to the energy we bring every day."
So, as the Yankees look to extend their series win streak to nine against their archrival, Judge will continue to provide that extra boost from the dugout. To him, it's an aspect of the game that's part of the job description -- whether he's healthy or not.
"I feel like it's part of my job, to keep everyone's confidence up,'' Judge said. "I'm not doing anything extra. I'm just being myself, the same as if I was active. We have to keep the same mindset and stay motivated because other teams aren't going to roll over."